Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome

What is Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome?

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome is a genetic condition characterized by the dramatic, rapid appearance of aging beginning in childhood. Affected children typically look normal at birth and in early infancy, but then grow more slowly than other children and do not gain weight at the expected rate (failure to thrive).

What are the characteristics, signs, and symptoms of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome?

They develop a characteristic facial appearance including:

  • prominent eyes,
  • a thin nose with a beaked tip,
  • thin lips, a small chin, and
  • protruding ears.

Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome also causes:

  • hair loss (alopecia),
  • aged-looking skin,
  • joint abnormalities, and
  • a loss of fat under the skin (subcutaneous fat).

This condition does not disrupt intellectual development or the development of motor skills such as sitting, standing, and walking.

How common is Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome?

This condition is very rare; it is reported to occur in 1 in 4 million newborns worldwide. More than 130 cases have been reported in the scientific literature since the condition was first described in 1886.

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